Daksha Baumann

WORKING WITH THE LAND/ENGAGING THE COMMUNITY: New Developments Unfold with Cobble It Together
One of my contributions to this summer’s art exhibit that celebrates Acadia National Park Centennial is the Cobble It Together project.  People in the Reversing Falls Sanctuary community have helped me begin to clear out the old garden bed at the front of the sanctuary and remove grass and gray stone in preparation for the new entry path and moss garden.  When one begins to work directly with the land,  a plan devised in the quiet of wintertime often meets a situation that causes plan revision.  Such is the case with mine.  After a walk around consultation at the sanctuary with the Field Service Advisor for Maine Preservation, I discovered that the foundation on the front (east) side of the building has been subjected to movement from poor drainage.  His suggestion to create a French drain on that side seems reasonable even though unexpected.  A French drain means a bit of digging in order to install the pipe along the foundation.  No problem, we can dig.  But in thinking about the soil being moved I began to have concerns for of course this old building has been painted over the years with lead paint and one can see flakes of the old paint in the front garden bed.  The soil SHOULD be removed but to where?  That would just shift the lead problem to someone else’s back yard.  I did a bit of research and think that the best solution is to treat the soil in place to remove the lead.  With a process called phytoremediation we can use plants to take up the lead and store it in their  tissues.  These plants are then pulled up and taken to our local dump and then in turn to the PERC incinerator to be burned.  The plants I’ll be using are sunflowers and mustard greens.  So while the moss garden will eventually become a reality, the interim bed will be a mix of sunflowers and greens.  If someone reading of this new development has a better solution I would love to hear about it.  And if anyone is living in a house older that the 70’s consider planting such a bed for yourself.

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